Entercom Buffalo and Pegula Sports and Entertainment have agreed to extend their long-standing broadcast partnership between WGR Sportsradio 550 and the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres through the 2020-21 Seasons. The announcement extends a play-by-play relationship with one of the most passionate and loyal fan bases in pro sports.
Entercom Buffalo VP/GM Greg Ried called the deal a win/win for both organizations. “WGR is delighted to extend our partnership with Pegula Sports and Entertainment in carrying the Bills and Sabres play-by-play and additional programming. The Bills and Sabres are Western New York’s passion and an important element of this community. It is a privilege to work with Pegula Sports and Entertainment and their world-class team of professionals. They have both the success of our teams and the success of our community at heart.” With the new agreement Entercom will be expanding and adding positions in its WGR Sports Marketing Department.
“Entercom has been a tremendous radio partner to us and we are pleased to extend our relationship,” said PSE COO Russ Brandon, who serves as president of both the Bills and Sabres. “Continuing to unite Bills and Sabres radio properties on one network best serves the needs of our passionate fans, as we move forward as One Buffalo. We’re excited to continue working with WGR as we pursue the same goal of providing a one-stop shop for all sports radio coverage in Buffalo.”
The WGR Bills and Sabres radio networks are collectively heard on more than 20 radio stations across New York State, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and Southern Ontario. John Murphy, Mark Kelso, and Sal Cappacio will continue as the Bills Broadcast Team. Rick Jeanneret, Dan Dunleavy, and Rob Ray remain as the Sabres radio team.
In addition to being the official flagship station for the teams, WGR will continue to air Sabres Hockey Hotline on weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon, with hosts Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet. The Bills-themed John Murphy show, with Murphy and former Buffalo Bill, Donald Jones, can now be heard from noon to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Both shows will also be simulcasted on MSG television.
16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.
The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets.
The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.
New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend
More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.
In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.
Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.
Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.
Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time
Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:
“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”
Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.
Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.